Photoshop, Acrobat and InDesign Questions dominate e-mail this month

Oct 06, 2007 at 11:02 am by staff


While traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast and back three times over the past three weeks, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the amount of e-mail I receive from readers of this column. Trying to answer the dozens of questions I get each day can become overwhelming, but I try. With this in mind, it seems like a good time to answer a few questions that come up the most: From Perri in Arizona: I have thousands of photos that I can’t ever seem to keep track of. I was wondering if there was a specific photo cataloging software that you could recommend? Kevin: If money is no object, there are several options for you, Perri. But for us mere mortals that live in a budget conscious world, I’d recommend Extensis Portfolio. For under $300, you will have a top-notch asset management application that will keep track of your photos as well as other files. Portfolio is available on both the Mac and PC platforms. From Bob in Tennessee: I have a color separation question in InDesign CS2. I have a color logo that was scanned into Photoshop. I purposely divided it into black & magenta to get everything on only 2 sheets for me to use in our print shop. My black separation prints out perfectly, but the magenta separation also has the black part of the logo printing on it. No matter what adjustment I seem to make to the logo in Photoshop, I still get the black parts showing up on both the black & magenta plates. Any clues? Kevin: As Bob learned, this was a Photoshop issue, not InDesign. I asked Bob to send me the logo and, sure enough, the black was overprinting the magenta. I simply selected and copied everything on the black plate, then went to the magenta plate and hit my delete key. This created a “knockout” in the magenta plate. Bob tells me the file worked perfectly after making the change. From Amy in New Hampshire: When you make an ad in Photoshop CS2 how can you make sure the text will not come out screened and jagged when printing to film? Kevin: There is a simple answer to Amy’s dilemma. When using small text in Photoshop, the file should be saved as an EPS file. Be sure to check the box marked “Include Vector Data” when saving the file in Photoshop. This saves the text as vector data rather than pixel data, much like InDesign or QuarkXPress. From Nancy in Saskatchewan: I received a request for help from an ad designer and I have no idea how to answer. How should the paper option and dot gain be set in Photoshop’s color settings. How about separation type, black ink limit and total ink limit? Kevin: There are no “set” answers to these questions, Nancy. However, these are some safe settings that usually generate much better results than Photoshop’s default settings. Select Newsprint (SWOP) as your paper type. Set the dot gain to 34% and the separation type to UCR. Try setting the black ink limit to 85% and the color ink limit to 255%. These should work out well for you. From Shelly in North Dakota: I created a page in InDesign and sent it to our printer as a PDF, A font came out wrong when it was printed. Any idea what would cause this? We have been having lots of problems with fonts. Kevin: Shelly’s problem was related to her settings in Acrobat Distiller. In the fonts area of the Distiller settings, there is a place to instruct Distiller never to embed certain fonts. This should be empty, by the way. You guessed it, the offending font was in Shelly’s list of fonts never to embed. My work is done. Now it’s time to fly to the other coast once again.

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